CUDA Spotlight: Michael Bussmann
GPUs and Computational Radiation Physics
This week's Spotlight is on Dr. Michael Bussmann of HZDR (Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf), a large-scale research facility based in Dresden, Germany.
Dr. Bussmann leads a "Junior Research Group" in the field of Computational Radiation Physics.
This interview is part of the CUDA Spotlight Series.
Q & A with Michael Bussman
NVIDIA: Michael, why is computational radiation physics important?
NVIDIA: How does GPU computing play a role in your work?
Laser-particle accelerated electrons – simulation on 16 NVIDIA GPUs
But we just have started. We can now add physical phenomena to our code that we never thought would be possible to compute. One example is taking 100 billion electrons, following each individual particle and calculating its contribution to the overall radiation emitted from laser-generated plasma.
In experiments, this radiation can then be used to identify the particle dynamics which otherwise can hardly be resolved. Here, our GPU simulation really opens up the way to a new understanding of laser-matter interaction.
Laser WakeField acceleration of ions
NVIDIA: What are some advantages of working with the CUDA programming model?
NVIDIA: Tell us about the PIConGPU (“Particle in Cell” on GPU) project.
After six weeks working at HZDR he presented a first single-GPU version of PIConGPU that produced a live video of the particles and field dynamics on screen. We were absolutely amazed by this, but did not realize what the future would hold for us.
We teamed up with ZIH Dresden, the high-performance computing center at Technical University Dresden (a CUDA Center of Excellence). Again, we found some bright students and programmers that helped us with putting PIConGPU on a cluster of GPUs.
After more than three years PIConGPU has become one of the fastest particle-in-cell codes around. And it has helped us find a lot of new partners in Dresden and around the world to collaborate in such diverse fields as plasma physics, laser physics, astrophysics, medicine, visualization, database technologies and high-performance computing (some of them have joined forces with the Dresden CUDA Center of Excellence).
What I like most about PIConGPU is that as of yet none of the developers holds a university degree. We work with a team of young, enthusiastic students and programmers who often have totally crazy ideas that in the end give PIConGPU the extra push that makes it so fast. I'm really grateful for being part of one of the best teams I've ever worked with.
NVIDIA: What are you most excited about in terms of future advances?
For future systems I am really excited by the possibilities to simulate, analyze and visualize data on the fly with GPUs. Frames-per-second simulations exist, but we do not yet have the tools to leverage the full power of these simulations.
Interactive feedback, visual analytics and complex, on-the-fly data analysis would change the way we think about HPC today. I want to use a supercomputer as an explorative tool which enables me to play with even the most complex physics. I think this future is not that far away, we just have to use the tools that are already there in a more intelligent way.
Bio for Michael Bussmann
After not finding the Higgs particle, Michael Bussmann followed his studies on laser cooling of relativistic ion beams at Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich and GSI Darmstadt. After receiving his PHD in experimental physics he switched subjects and became a theoretical laser plasma physicist at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf.
Since 2008 he has been head of the Junior Research Group "Computational Radiation Physics" at the HZDR Institute for Radiation Physics. He is part of the Laser-Particle Acceleration Group and likes to work together with all the experimental physicists there. In his free time Michael likes hiking, diving and sailing and enjoys life in Dresden.
Relevant LinksComputational Radiation Physics Institute at HZDR http://www.hzdr.de/crp
Dresden CUDA Center of Excellence http://ccoe-dresden.de/
Contact Infom.bussmann (at) hzdr (dot) de
Bautzner Landstrasse 400, D-01328 Dresden, Germany